“I don’t even know how to spend $100 at Toys R Us,” she said.
Under federal law, consumers face a maximum of $50 in liability for unauthorized charges — and most merchants waive even that. However, the process for disputing charges can be tedious and long.
Police released photographs this week of a woman who they believe stole Smith’s identity.
But the police announcement hasn’t generated any significant leads, according to Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Smith as well as her friends and family from looking for the woman.
It all started when Smith, 37, received a phone call on Feb. 12 from Target notifying her that account information may have been breached.
She began digging into her account records and emails, but it wasn’t easy.
Smith works long hours as an ob-gyn technician and helps deliver babies at a Glendora hospital.
On top of her duties in Glendora, she balances two other jobs at Glendale hospitals.
But after the theft, she devoted her days off to filing documents, obtaining surveillance footage and managing receipts in an attempt to repair her credit and find the woman.
While investigating her credit, she nearly had a run-in with the alleged thief at JCPenney.
Smith was reporting the theft at the store when an employee suddenly alerted her that the woman was in the store at the same time using the gift cards she had purchased. But she said the employee told her to report the incident to the Police Department.
“You have to jump through hoops to protect yourself,” she said.
Consumers lost more than $1.6 billion to fraud last year with identity theft being the most common complaint, according to the Federal Trade Commission.